Matternet leaps to your attention and imagination. This high-flying concept of vital supply delivery was first reported by Mark Prigg in the Daily Mail Online today, Friday, May 31, 2013. Apparently brilliant work has already been done with their drones in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The specific type of drones used in these delivery exercises actually appears to be quadricopters. No matter, the Daily Mail reported that these UAVs delivered payloads of up to “2 kilograms”. This would be of no small benefit to those needing unavailable medicines in remote regions of the world.
However, one would have hoped that more documentation on the Haiti and DR events would have been transparent on the Matternet website. More video footage and other presentations would help this movement get along. The gravity of the fact that “one seventh” of all human beings (that’s about one billion people) without access to vital supply delivery makes the mission all the more important. If successful, Matternet could be addressing real life-and-death issues at the farthest points of the compass. A renewed comparison with the Balto-vaccine hero dog story is irresistible.
With such a humanitarian mission/movement Matternet is to be excused from some criticisms as it is a start-up, after all. This child of necessity comes to us from Andreas Raptopoulos, Paola Santana, Dimitar Pachov and Darlene Damm. Searching educational information indicates that the Matternet project began popping up about 2012 – as well as some early criticism. Some critics point out that the engineering and maintenance would be “meticulous”. True, supplying energy to the delivery drones in remote areas may require a second level of engineering – but hasn’t other aerospace and mobile technology addressed this in their own designs?
Another criticism is the potential for abuse – but no technology system is “foolproof”. Internet connected data is under constant threat of hacking from a variety of abusers. The Matternet model also gives hope to those stranded far from infrastructure, roadways and all forms of transport. Government/s will have to take a look at the potential cost reduction provided by a roadless infrastructure system via a system like Matternet. It seems the Matternet drones will give us a great experiment in vital supply delivery – other than bombs and missiles. Next thing you know, they’ll be delivering pizzas in Ann Arbor.